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Home Forums General Discussion Radio 4: Pauli's exclusion principle

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    Andy Sawers
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    I just caught a few minutes of an interesting-sounding programme on Radio 4, hosted by Melvyn Bragg, on Pauli’s exclusion principle. A summary is below. One of the speakers was Frank Close, who gave a Flamsteed talk on Bruno Pontecorvo, father of neutrino astronomy.

    The programme can be heard by clicking here.

    Here’s a description of the programme:

    In Our Time: Pauli’s Exclusion Principle

    Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the life and ideas of Wolfgang Pauli (1900-1958), whose Exclusion Principle is one of the key ideas in quantum mechanics. A brilliant physicist, at 21 Pauli wrote a review of Einstein’s theory of general relativity and that review is still a standard work of reference today.

    The Pauli Exclusion Principle proposes that no two electrons in an atom can be at the same time in the same state or configuration, and it helps explain a wide range of phenomena such as the electron shell structure of atoms. Pauli went on to postulate the existence of the neutrino, which was confirmed in his lifetime.

    Following further development of his exclusion principle, Pauli was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1945 for his ‘decisive contribution through his discovery of a new law of Nature’. He also had a long correspondence with Jung, and a reputation for accidentally breaking experimental equipment which was dubbed The Pauli Effect.

    Frank Close, Fellow Emeritus at Exeter College, University of Oxford
    Michela Massimi, Professor of Philosophy of Science at the University of Edinburgh
    Graham Farmelo, Bye-Fellow of Churchill College, University of Cambridge

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